Posts tagged with "hospital incompetence"

Failure to Warn Case Against Generic Ibuprofen

A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit against the maker of a generic brand of ibuprofen. The lawsuit is on behalf of a child who suffered liver damage after taking the drug as prescribed after surgery. The case holds generic drug makers to the same labeling standard as makers of patented drugs. The case alleges failure to warn of ibuprofen risks by the drug maker. The court says the duty to warn applies to generic drug makers.

Drug Label Failed to Warn of Known Risk

Ibuprofen is a popular over-the-counter painkiller. The lawsuit says the drug is known to cause liver failure under some circumstances. The label contained no warnings about this potential side effect.

In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled drug makers can be sued for failing to warn of the risks of a medication even though the FDA has approved package or label warnings. This ruling makes clear the same standard applies to makers of the generic forms of the drug. Failure to warn is one of the main theories of product liability law.

By now everyone should be clear on the risks of liver damage associated with the two common aspirin alternatives. The FDA instructed drug makers to limit the amount of acetaminophen in prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. As this case shows, what you don’t know can hurt you.

By: Arthur Buono

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Surviving Medical Malpractice

It sometimes seems that friends and family are constantly in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals.  We once went six months straight with a different friend in the hospital each month.  Hospitals are amazing places staffed by people whose job is to help you get better.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes people are beyond help.  Worse yet, sometimes the actions or inactions of the doctors or nurses can unnecessarily injure or kill a patient.  This happened to a friend of mine almost five years ago.  She is still paying off the medical bills from her hospitalization despite the fact that her doctor committed medical malpractice and she came within a few hours of dying.

So, what’s the problem, why is she paying off the bills, including the fees of the doctor that nearly killed her?  None of the attorneys she spoke to would take her case.  Why?  Because she lived.

Medical Malpractice Cases

That’s right.  If she had died they would have been happy to help her husband go after the people responsible, but because she lived they felt the damage wasn’t catastrophic enough.  Apparently weeks in the hospital, hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills that her insurance didn’t cover, and inability to work for about a year wasn’t catastrophic.  It was incomprehensible to me that medical professionals nearly killed her and then legal professionals did nothing to right the wrong.

I’ve done some research and discovered that my friend isn’t the only one who has been left out in the cold.  It turns out one of the reasons attorneys are so picky about the cases they accept is that it is very hard to win a medical malpractice case.  The things an attorney will consider in taking your case are:  liability, damages, and who would pay the damages.  If you think you have a potential medical malpractice claim, here are some things you should consider in deciding what to do next.

Do you live in a state that requires you to first try to work things out through mediation or arbitration? 

The process can vary from state to state so you may want to ask a legal professional in your state what to expect.

How long ago did this happen?

While there can be variants in different states’ statutes of limitations, if what happened was over two years ago you may find it hard to bring your claim now.  Seek the advice of a lawyer on this for your state’s particular rules and any factors that may extend the time you have to bring suit.

Was your doctor negligent? 

Negligence can come in many forms.  Common ones include: misdiagnosing a problem, failure to treat a problem correctly, giving the wrong medication, and failing to warn you of the risks of surgery or other procedures.  Of course, even if your doctor did misdiagnose you, that doesn’t automatically mean you can take him to court and win.  The question then becomes: was that a common enough misdiagnosis that other doctors would have made the same mistake?  That leads to the next question.

How would your doctor’s actions compare to those of other doctors? 

If the average practitioner would have done the exact same thing, you’re probably not going to be able to win a lawsuit.  Your doctor’s actions have to be judged in light of a standard of care observed by doctors.  This guarantees that you can’t go after a doctor just because he isn’t on the cutting edge of research or number one in his field.  If your doctor’s actions were in line with accepted medical practice, then he’s probably covered.  However, if other doctors are surprised or perplexed by the actions of the one who caused your injury, you might be able to bring a case against him.

What damages did you suffer? 

This is another one of those fuzzy areas.  Of course, some damages such as medical bills are obvious.  However, you also need to think in terms of loss of ability, pain and suffering and what the short and long term effects will be.  What makes this difficult is that this varies greatly from person to person.  For example, loss of a toe for a professional dancer could be much more catastrophic than for a banker.  The physical marring and the loss of balance could negatively impact a dancer’s work and income whereas a banker should be able to do his work just fine without the toe.

There are a lot of factors that affect a medical malpractice case.  If you think you have one, seek out an attorney as soon as possible.  Keep in mind the above list so you know what to ask and what to expect from the meeting.  Don’t be too shocked if the attorney refuses to take your case.  Do seek out a second opinion, just like you would from a doctor!

However, if multiple attorneys tell you the same thing then the best thing you can do for yourself is let it go.  Work on recovering physically and financially as fast as you can.  A lawyer can help you work out the details of your medical financial obligations and how to best handle them.  The important thing is to do what you can to minimize the impact and get on with the rest of your life and do your best to thrive, not just survive!

By: lawyers.com

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

‘Distracted Doctoring’ a Danger to Patients

Distractions From Patient Care

A survey found that 55 percent of technicians monitoring bypass machines admitted to talking on cell phones during surgery. Half admitted to texting while in surgery. A widely read editorial in Anesthesiology News by Peter J. Papadakos, MD, says health care workers today are “fixated on computer screens” and rarely receive information directly from their patients. Papadakos referred to a study presented to the American Society of Anesthesiologists this year that said nurse anesthetists and residents were distracted by something other than patient care in 54 percent of cases. The study further cited surfing the Internet as the primary distraction. All of these distractions serve as a potential danger to patients.

Additionally, a report in The New York Times cited polls of medical professionals in which a majority of respondents admitted using cellphones during critical procedures. The Times cited a survey of medical technicians published in Perfusion, a journal about cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery, which found that 55 percent of technicians who monitor bypass machines acknowledged talking on cell phones during heart surgery and half said they had texted while in surgery.

“Why does anyone carry a cell phone into an operating room?” Patrick A. Salvi, managing equity partner of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. in Chicago, asked. “The patient on the table deserves the undivided attention of everyone in that room.”

Malpractice of Healthcare Workers

Salvi, a medical malpractice attorney, expressed concern that healthcare workers’ increased reliance on electronic devices has become a distraction that has led to medical errors and injuries.

“We’re dismayed by reports that say doctors, nurses, technicians and others providing medical care are spending too much time focused on smartphones, computer screens and other devices when they should be paying attention to their patients.” “We’re not against the use of electronic devices for delivery of medical records or even personal communication, but it is absolutely crucial that a focus on the patient is not dropped from the accepted standards of medical care,” said Salvi.

Anyone believing their injuries or the injury or death of a loved one in a hospital or another medical setting may have been caused by medical errors resulting from distraction should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately.

By: Larry Bodine

If you have any questions relating to a medical malpractice claims, medical negligence or injury, or a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

State Lawmaker Involved in Car Accident Lawsuit Accused of Drunk Driving

A personal injury lawsuit filed this week accuses Connecticut State Rep. Christina Ayala of fleeing the scene of an accident caused by her own drunk driving, according to a report from the Norwich Bulletin.

Sources say the lawsuit, filed by 26-year-old Krystal Valez, claims that Ayala was under the influence of alcohol when she ran her car into a vehicle driven by Valez. The lawsuit also alleges that Ayala fled the scene of the accident.

The accident in question occurred last August, when Ayala’s 2007 Nissan Sentra allegedly struck a 2002 Honda Accord being driven by Valez.

Ayala allegedly fled the scene of the accident, but a person who witnessed the crash followed her car and eventually forced her to pull over about six blocks from the location of the collision, according to sources.

When Ayala was questioned by officers after the accident, she claimed that she tried to check on Valez following the collision, but that she decided to leave the scene because she felt “scared” due to the presence of a man who was screaming at her.

Car Accident Lawsuit

Interestingly, when police took Ayala into custody, they did not test her for alcohol, because they claimed she did not appear to be intoxicated. Nevertheless, the lawsuit filed by Valez alleges that Ayala was drunk at the time of the crash.

The plaintiff claims that she suffered back injuries and a concussion as a result of the accident, and that her medical costs amount to roughly $11,000.

Valez, however, will have to refute the testimony of Ayala’s father, Alberto Ayala, who claims that his daughter had not been drinking before the accident, according a statement given to the Connecticut Post.

Of course, Alberto Ayala has every incentive to make this claim, because not only is he the driver’s father, he is also named as a defendant in the car accident lawsuit.

Unfortunately for Christina Ayala, a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, the pending personal injury lawsuit is the least of her legal concerns.

Sources say Ayala, who is serving her first term in the state legislature, was officially charged with failing to renew her driver’s registration, failing to obey a traffic signal, and evading responsibility.

During her latest court hearing, Ayala was told by her judge that she could accept a plea bargain offered by prosecutors or stand trial for her criminal counts.

Under the plea deal, Ayala would receive a suspended sentence and have an extended period of probation. Sources say Ayala has three weeks to make her choice.

By JClark, totalinjury.com

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Woman Injured in Rail Crash Files Train Accident Lawsuit

A 65-year-old woman who was injured in a dramatic train crash last month in Connecticut has filed a negligence lawsuit against Metro-North Railroad, according to a report from ABC News.

Sources say the woman, Elizabeth Sorenson, a resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut, suffered multiple bone fractures and remains in critical condition as doctors tend to a severe brain injury.

The lawsuit was the first claim filed by a victim of the crash that occurred on May 17. According to sources, the crash injured more than 70 people.

Sorenson’s personal injury attorney told sources that he filed the lawsuit in federal court in order to gain access to witnesses that observed the accident and to allow families of the victims to become involved in the investigation.

Sources expect more lawsuits to eventually be filed in the wake of the massive train accident, which happened at 6:10 p.m. on a weekday as the train carried 300 passengers from New York’s Grand Central Station to New Haven, Connecticut.

The train reportedly derailed near a highway overpass in the town of Bridgeport, and was then struck by a train holding 400 passengers that was headed the opposite direction.

The Damage Caused by the Accident

The damage caused by the accident was “absolutely staggering,” according to Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, as he observed the scene. Sources say parts of the roof of some of the train cars had been torn off, and that some of the tracks were noticeably twisted.

Three people remain in critical condition after the accident, and the National Transportation Safety Board has launched a full investigation into the wreck.

Thus far, investigators have yet to isolate the cause of the accident, but the impact was so severe, some passengers initially thought it may have been caused by a bomb.

“We came to a sudden halt. We were jerked. There was smoke. People were screaming; people were really nervous. We were pretty shaken up. They had to smash a window to get us out,” said one passenger traveling from New York.

Another passenger told local sources that they “went flying” and reported that “one entire compartment was completely ripped open.”

Most of the 70 passengers who were injured received prompt treatment at the site of the accident, but three victims are still in critical condition, according to reports.

According to report from train officials, the tracks involved in the collision suffered “extensive infrastructure damage,” and the train involved in the accident will “need to be removed by crane” following a thorough investigation.

By JClark, totalinjury.com

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

$825,000 Verdict for Injuries from Truck Accident

In a personal injury trial in the Stamford Superior Court a woman received $825,000 for injuries to her head and neck suffered in a collision with a large truck.

Case Details

The case involved a motor vehicle accident whereby, the plaintiff, Mrs. Hutter, was hit from behind by a large beer truck owned by DiChello Distributors. As a result of the collision, Mrs. Hutter sustained a number of serious injuries including injuries to her head and neck. She also sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.

During the course of a three week trial, the plaintiff presented a substantial number of witnesses to establish the significance of the impact and the extent of the injuries. The experts included an accident reconstruction expert from Maryland, a bio-mechanical expert from Virginia, a neurologist, a psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist.

In addition to the various expert witness, Mrs. Hutter also presented testimony from her friends who knew her before the time of the accident and were able to explain to the jury the significant change in Mrs. Hutter that occurred as a result of the incident.

The Verdict

After three weeks of evidence, the jury deliberated for two and one-half days and then rendered a verdict in favor of Mrs. Hutter in the amount of $825,000 including over $500,000 for compensation for her pain and suffering.

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Medical Devices Hurting Kids

Medical Devices –  from contact lenses to insulin pumps – injure about 70,000 children each year in the United States. A study published in the journal Pediatrics Monday is the first to compile data on the injuries. The increasing use of medical devices designed for adults in children concerns researchers.

  • A groundbreaking study of hospital admissions estimates over 70,000 injuries yearly
  • Many injuries linked to improper handling or care of medical devices by patients
  • Concerns over pediatric use of adult devices
Many Injuries Preventable, Some Tradeoffs Made

Contact lenses caused one-quarter of the injuries counted. Many of these were minor infections or scratches caused by kids failing to clean their contacts carefully or wearing them too long. Devices also caused some serious injuries. Some devices allow children to be treated at home instead of in the hospital. Sometimes parents lack the skill or knowledge to handle the devices properly. The idea that some of the injuries may be the result of adult devices being used in children raises questions of defective design by manufacturers and malpractice by caregivers.

As doctors and healthcare use medical devices more frequently to treat patients, litigation over injures the devices cause also increases. Very often the litigation takes the form of a class action. In a class action, the claims of numerous people who’ve been injured by the same device or drug are combined in one lawsuit. Injured persons may choose to join the lawsuit or go it alone.

Class actions involving persons injured by medical devices will involve some form of a product liability claim. Individual claims relating to devices might also involve a theory of medical malpractice or negligence. The increase in malpractice and products liability cases continues to stoke the health care and tort reform debate.

By: Arthur Buono

If you have any questions relating to a medical malpractice claim, medical injury, personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a consultation today.

Stop and Shop Slip and Fall Recovers $537,787 Against Attorney

Bell v. Law Offices of Howard A. Lawrence, LLC, NNHCV116025442S, 2013 WL 1943849 (Conn. Super. Ct. Apr. 19, 2013)

In a Connecticut Superior Court decision, Norma Bell recovered $537,787 in damages stemming from a fall at Stop and Shop Supermarket. The plaintiff’s award was against her former attorney in her personal injury action against Stop and Shop, who had failed to appeal Stop and Shop’s Motion to Dismiss.[1]

Case Background

On August 25, 2006, Norma Bell, when exiting from the Stop and Shop Supermarket located at 100 Division Street in Ansonia, fell due to the dangerous and defective condition of the parking area next to the store provided for use by its patrons.[2]  Stop and Shop, although not the owner of the parking area, would have the duty to use reasonable care to maintain the said area in a reasonably safe condition to which its patrons were invited to use.

As a result of her fall, the plaintiff sustained serious and permanent personal injuries including a serious cerebral concussion, frontal sinus dehiscence requiring craniotomy.[3]  Bell retained Howard A. Lawrence to represent her in connection with a claim for monetary compensation.

Bell’s attorney, Lawrence, filed suit against Stop and Shop only.  However, the lease agreement between Stop and Shop and the owner of the parking lot provided the lot owner was responsible for maintenance.  Bell’s attorney failed to include the owner of the parking in the action and after the court granted Stop and Shop’s Motion To Dismiss, Lawrence failed to appeal.

In the subsequent legal malpractice lawsuit against the Law Offices of Howard A. Lawrence, Bell won a judgment of $537,787.41 ($187,781.41 in economic damages and $350,000 for noneconomic damages) representing her damages for the “lost cause” against Stop and Shop.[4]

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County.

If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or attorney malpractice claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Teen Awarded $12.6M for Losing Limbs Because of Expired Medication

A jury awarded a Florida teenager $12.6 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the University of Miami Medical School for a medication error that caused her to lose all four of her limbs 13 years ago when she was a toddler.

The jury deemed the mother half responsible for the error, the mother will ultimately receive about half the award. All commentators think the medical school will appeal first, though.

Queen Seriah Azulla Dabrio gave birth to her daughter Shaniah on August 16, 1996. The infant had many medical conditions and physical conditions, according to court documents, including a life-threatening gastric perforation. Doctors had to perform surgery the day after her birth at Memorial Regional Hospital. After an extended stay at the hospital, she was discharged, under the care of a number of pediatricians and gastroenterologists. The doctors removed her spleen and other organs.

On June 11, 1999, Dabrio brought her dying three-year-old to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The ER doctors diagnosed her with “multiple virulent conditions, including ischemia … which stopped the flow of blood to her extremities, and gangrene,” court documents show. “After consultation with Shaniah’s mother, a team of Jackson physicians conducted a four-extremity amputation on the young girl — removing both arms below the elbow and both of her legs below her knees.”

In October of 1998, a few months prior to visiting the emergency room, a medical assistant had given the child a special vaccine for people without spleens, to inoculate against bacterial infections. The vaccine was expired, and the child came down with an infection.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice attorney Manuel Dobrinsky echoes the jury’s finding that the consumer has the first responsibility to avoid medical error. “Consumers need to really watch out for themselves before malpractice occurs before it’s too late.”

“Let’s say, if you go to the lab to get a blood test – some people think that if they don’t get a phone call, then everything is alright. No, insist that somebody tell you it’s okay, and not only tell you but also give you the values. If you think there’s something wrong with you and the doctor says there’s nothing wrong, get a second opinion. If you’re in the hospital, be sure there are people asking questions: ‘What are you doing? What medicine are you giving?’” he says.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice is not uncommon. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, hospitals and doctors get it right, but there are instances when they get it wrong,” he says, adding that the University of Miami is a top hospital. But he sees mistakes all the time: misdiagnoses, dosage errors, and everything in between.

“The wrong drug can be given that causes death, or there’d be too much of a drug or too little, anything you can imagine we have seen. So it’s very important that consumers be proactive,” he says. “Truthfully, a lawsuit is your last recourse. It’s the last resort. We never have clients say, ‘Wow, this lawsuit is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.’”

Medical Malpractice Awards

He says Shaniah Rolle got a huge award because she lost so much. “She’ll probably need 24-hour care,” he says. The jury probably took her long-term care into account when they set the award. Dobrinsky says the jury will take into account all the economic losses in a medical malpractice case. “The first thing you have to talk about is the economic damages – loss of ability to work and the care this person’s going to need. Top-end prosthetic limbs are very expensive, and the question is, who should pay for them? The wrongdoer or the taxpayer?” In other words, if the hospital wasn’t forced to pay damages, the girl would be supported by public benefits.

“The other question is pain and suffering – loss of enjoyment of life. I can guess that with a person who’s lost all their limbs, there are a lot of things you can’t do,” he says. Damages for pain and suffering were capped in 2003, however.

He says an appeal is standard practice for large awards like this case.

If a consumer feels he/she has been a victim of medical malpractice, consultations are almost always free, and lawyers typically don’t get paid unless the client wins an award. And as with doctors, if a lawyer doesn’t think there’s a case, get a second opinion.

By Ada Kulesza

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County.

If you have any questions relating to a medical malpractice claim, personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

$13 Million For Victim Paralyzed in Texting While Driving Accident

A driver in Alabama who was paralyzed from the chest down after being rear-ended on a highway was awarded $13 million in compensatory damages last month. Phone records show that the defendant driving the other vehicle was sending text messages around the time of the accident.

He’ll Never Walk Again

Miguel Gutierrez was a migrant worker from Mexico, armed with a green card and driving through the South looking for work. In February 2010, on his way from Florida to Montgomery, Alabama to pick up a new job, Gutierrez was abruptly hit from behind on the highway just as he entered the city, shattering two of his vertebrae and leaving him with no motor functions below his chest.

“He’s a 53-year-old guy who just loved to work,” says Gutierrez’s attorney, Keith Belt. “Now he’ll never walk again.”

During the trial, defendant Lisa Franklin argued that Gutierrez had actually caused the accident. “Basically, it was a he-said-she-said,” Belt says. “She claimed that my client pulled right out in front of her from a gas station. My client said he had been driving in that lane for over a mile and just got hit from behind. One of them was not telling the truth. It’s pretty obvious who the jury believed.”

Both sides brought in experts to recreate the accident scene for the jury, with conflicting accounts of how the events went down. However, Franklin’s testimony brought up questions of consistency.

“She basically said she didn’t see my client until a second before impact. She didn’t stop, didn’t even drop a skid,” Belt says. “The question she could never answer, based on the visibility of the accident scene, was how she couldn’t explain how she didn’t see him until one second before.”

Truth Found in Phone Records

The answer may have been found in Franklin’s phone bill. According to the records, she had both sent and received a text message within a two-minute window around the time the accident took place. “That gave an explanation to the jury for why she never saw him,” says Belt. “She was certainly not paying attention.”

The phone bill was enough for the jury, who handed Gutierrez a $13 million award, all compensatory for his past and future medical bills and other losses.

Unfortunately Gutierrez is far from alone as a victim injured by a driver texting while driving. According to the National Safety Council, 23 percent of car crashes, or 1.3 million per year, are caused by phone calls or texting. Phone use was involved in 3,092 highway deaths in 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates.

While laws against distracted driving have proliferated in the last five years, some states still have no such measure in place

By: Aaron Kase

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County.

If you have any questions relating to a motor vehicle accident, driving laws, or a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Joseph Maya and the other experienced attorneys at our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.